Much has been said about Tom Osborne, the retiring University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic director and The World-Herald’s 2012 Midlander of the Year.

About his contributions to the university. To its football team. To its athletics department. To its facilities. To its faithful fans. Not to mention the contributions this three-term congressman made to his state and nation. And don’t forget his TeamMates mentoring program that now helps some 6,000 kids annually.

One thing was best said by Osborne himself in talking with World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel, who asked how Osborne would write his own legacy:

“To me, the relationships are most important and most lasting. The wins and losses get all the focus, they’re written down somewhere, but they fade pretty fast. There’s not a week that goes by that former players don’t drop by or call. It’s amazing to me how many of them will mention something that was said or done, and I don’t even remember, but it was a big deal to them at a certain time in their life. Those are the things that are most important to me.”

Not the victory, but the student-athletes. That helped make Tom Osborne a great coach and mentor. And that says a lot.

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